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Toolkit on the Right to Food

The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement. – Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Key elements of the right to adequate food

Publications & tools

- Availability: Food should be available from natural resources either through the production of food, by cultivating land or animal husbandry, or through other ways of obtaining food, such as fishing, hunting or gathering. On the other hand, it means that food should be available for sale in markets and shops.

- Accessibility: Economic and physical access to food to be guaranteed. Economic accessibility means that food must be affordable. Individuals should be able to afford food for an adequate diet without compromising on any other basic needs, such as school fees, medicines or rent. Physical accessibility means that food should be accessible to all, including to the physically vulnerable, such as children, the sick, persons with disabilities or the elderly. Access to food must also be guaranteed to people in remote areas and to victims of armed conflicts or natural disasters, as well as to prisoners.

- Adequacy: Food must satisfy dietary needs, taking into account the individual’s age, living conditions, health, occupation, sex, etc. Food should be safe for human consumption and free from adverse substances. Adequate food should also be culturally acceptable.

- Sustainability: Food should be accessible for both present and future generations.

For more about key concepts on the right to food, see:

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
General Comment No. 12
Cover Fact sheet 34 Right to Adequate Food

Fact Sheet on the Right to Adequate Food
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- The Right to Adequate Food, OHCHR Fact Sheet No. 34, OHCHR/FAO (2010).

Food and Agriculture Organization:
Right to food portal site

International mechanisms relevant to the right to food

UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council has created a mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food. The Council's Advisory Committee also analyses issues relevant to the right to food. In addition, UN Member States conduct peer review under Universal Periodic Review process on the fulfilment of human rights obligations, including those on the right to food.

UN human rights treaty bodies

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights monitors the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides the most comprehensive protection of the right to food among the UN human rights treaties. Other treaty bodies have also addressed the right to food.

Committee on World Food Security

Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the main United Nations' forum on food and nutrition security, hosted by FAO. The CFS monitors and supports the implementation of the voluntary guidelines for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

Issues in focus


© FAO/Walter Astrada